Aim: To study the caries prevalence and caries experience of 5, 12 and 15-year-old children in Greece and evaluate how the disease pattern is related to their sociodemographic parameters.
Methods: A stratified cluster sample of 1209, 1224 and 1257 of five, twelve and fifteen-year-old Greek children were randomly selected according to WHO guidelines for national pathfinder surveys and examined for dental caries, according to the BASCD criteria and standards. d3mft, D3MFT and their components, as well as d3mfs, D3MFS, Care Index (CI) and SiC were recorded and related to the demographic data collected concerning age, gender, counties, urban/rural areas and parents' educational status.
Results: Dental caries varied considerably between the different districts, with a mean dmft/DMFT value for each age group being 1.77, 2.05 and 3.19 respectively, while 64%, 37% and 29% of them, were with no obvious dentinal caries. Children living in rural areas demonstrated significantly higher dmft/DMFT values and less dental restorative care (CI), whereas children with fathers of a higher educational level showed significantly lower dmft/DMFT values. The significant caries (SIC) index value for the three age groups was 5.01, 4.83 and 7.07 respectively. Posterior occlusal surfaces of the permanent teeth presented most of the caries in the 12 (68%) and 15-year-old group (78%).
Conclusions: Despite the decrease in the prevalence of caries in Greek children disparities remain. Children in rural areas and children with less educated parents had more caries and more untreated caries. All the above call for immediate intervention with comprehensive preventive programs and better geographic targeting of the dental services at a national level including targeted prevention of pit and fissure sealants on posterior permanent molars.